Heidi Rufeh was born in West Berlin, where she enjoyed a pleasant childhood. But upon entering adulthood became more aware of the restrictive nature of the then-divided city. The East-West conflict had an enormous impact on her, especially after the construction of the Wall in 1961. She felt terribly constrained and began to look into opportunities to experience freedom.
To achieve this goal, Rufeh moved to the United States in 1963 and began taking classes at Harvard University. There she met her future husband who had immigrated from Iran. This encounter introduced her to the great culture, poetry and traditions of Persia.
Her intense interest in the arts led her to study at the De Cordova Museum school, the Massachusetts College of Art and later at the Art Institute of Boston. She joined a group of artists in Concord and began her art career in earnest. That was followed by exhibitions in Boston, Lexington, Concord, and Cape Cod in Massachusetts; Soho, New York City; New Hampshire, Rhode Island; Colorado; California and Berlin, Germany.
In 1994 her family moved from Boston to the San Diego area where they now reside. Living in California, in close proximity to Mexico, has induced her color pallet to become more vibrant and bold.
Having grown up in the chaos of a divided city and the Cold War, Rufeh’s work is embedded with psychological associations. She focuses on the human condition, social conflicts, and the looming danger of climate change while steadfastly maintaining a passion for life.
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